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Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative 7 1 Browse Search
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Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 1: from the U. S.A. Into the C. S.A. (search)
ced into Congress to adopt the system and Myer and I were directed to exhibit it to the Military Committees. I was also assigned to temporary duty on a board of officers experimenting with breech-loading rifles, of which there were several models being offered to the War Department. By April, 1860, the Signal Bill having been favorably reported, I was relieved from special duty and ordered back to West Point, but was given a leave of absence for 60 days. During this leave I married Miss Bettie Mason of King George Co., Va. Soon after returning to West Point I was ordered to relieve Lt. Robert at Fort Steilacoom in Washington Territory with the detachment of our company. With my wife I sailed on the steamer Northern Light for Aspinwall on Aug. 10; by the John L. Stephens from Panama on the 19th; and by the Cortes from San Francisco on Sept. 8; landing at Steilacoom City on Sept. 20. All steamers of those days were side wheelers. The post was commanded by Col. Silas Casey of th
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 3: fall and winter of 1861 (search)
and sent them to Richmond to be cut up and rerolled into copper strips. From this copper and the above chemical mixture all the caps were made which we used during the last year of the war, but at its close the copper stills were exhausted. It is hard to imagine what we would then have done had not the surrender at Appomattox relieved the quandary. In August our line of pickets was advanced within five miles of the Potomac, opposite Washington, and it included two hills, Munson's and Mason's, from which many houses in Washington were plainly visible. This suggested opening a line of secret signals from a window in one of these houses to an observation room on the top of a residence on Mason's Hill. A powerful telescope was borrowed from Charleston, and an intelligent signal employee, E. P. Bryan, of Maryland, was sent in disguise to Washington to find a room with an available window, and to install himself therein. The scheme was entirely feasible, but before it could be pu
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 22: the Mine (search)
ble to fire with great effect upon the enemy massed in front of our lines. The left gun in the next salient to the right, occupied by Davidson's battery, was in an embrasure which flanked the Pegram Salient, but was not open to any gun on the enemy's line. This gun did fearful execution, being scarcely 400 yards distant. It was fired by Maj. Gibbes commanding the battalion, for perhaps 40 rounds, until he was badly wounded, after which it was served by Col. Huger and Haskell, Winthrop, and Mason of my staff, and later by some of Wise's infantry. A hot fire was turned upon it, but it was well protected and could never be kept silent when the enemy showed himself. Five hundred yards to the left was a four-gun battery under Capt. Wright of Coit's battalion, in a depression behind our line, and masked from the enemy by some trees. But it had a flanking fire on the left of Pegram's Salient and across all the approaches and a number of infantry of Wise's brigade could also add their
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 23: the fall of 1864 (search)
m he might question. I had seen at a house near by an intelligent man whom I brought up and who confirmed the map. The Federals would have the shortest road to Appomattox station, a common point a little beyond Appomattox C. H. Saying there would be time enough to look after that, the general folded up his map and I went to look after the bridges. As the enemy were already in sight, I set fire to the railroad bridge at once, and, having well prepared the highway bridge, I left my aide, Lt. Mason, to fire it on a signal from me. It was also successfully burned. In the End of an Era by John S. Wise, he has described an interview occurring between his father, Gen. Wise, and Gen. Lee at Farmville at this time, which I quote:— We found Gen. Lee on the rear portico of the house I have mentioned. He had washed his face in a tin basin and stood drying his beard with a coarse towel as we approached. Gen. Lee, exclaimed my father, my poor brave men are lying on yonder hill more dea